You must have heard about it by now – after all, Saturday Night Live has already done a skit on it – but in case you haven’t, Martha Stewart, domestic diva-turned-entrepreneur, is turning to the Internet in the hopes of finding true love. Ms. Stewart has joined millions of other singles by posting a profile on dating website Match.com. She shared this tidbit last week in a candid conversation about her love life with NBC Today show host and longtime friend Matt Lauer.
What you may not have heard in the rush-to-coverage that followed, however, was much of a response from Match.com. At first blush, this seems a bit odd. After all, having one of the world’s most successful and recognizable businesswomen touting your product on national television is a dream come true. Indeed, the PR team over at Match must still be reeling from such unexpected good fortune.
Or are they? Matchmaking is a tricky business – even more so when your new unofficial spokeswoman is a global celebrity whose happiness depends on your company coming up with the goods. Sam Yagan, the CEO at Match.com, agreeably appeared on an episode of Today to help Ms. Stewart write and post her profile, but other that the Match.com response has been very low-key: no press releases, interviews, or big social media blitz. This is the right approach: Save the champagne for the engagement party.
THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Match.com. By staying out of the media limelight now, Match leaves itself room to take credit if Martha does find Mr. Right, as well as to graciously split with her if she doesn’t, without taking an unnecessary PR hit.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: When it comes to PR, it’s the marriage that should be celebrated, not the courtship. Dating is an uncertain phase; success is far from certain, whether in love or in business. The big PR push should come when quantifiable results are produced and stand the test of time. Until then, it’s just another concept that, like new love, could go south in a heartbeat.